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Dazz Band: Hot Spot CD
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Hot Spot

Motown (1985) reissue by Funky Town Grooves (USA, 2011)

If Only You Were In My Shoes / Hot Spot / Paranoid / All The way / S.C.L. & P. (Style, Class, Looks And Personality) / She Used To Be My Girl / When You Need Roses / Slow Rap / Hot Spot (Club Mix) / Heartbeat (12" Version) / Let It All Blow (Special Disco Remix) / Swoop (I'm Yours) (12" Version) / Joystick (Vocal 12")

There isn't a Dazz Band album that disappoints, so any reissue from this massive, massive unit of talent is going to make this scribe very happy. Not all albums were essentially strong but each set contained real killers and 1985's "Hot Spot" was no exception. Their final set for Motown, and a welcome refresher for the jolly old memory, "Hot Spot" will serve well and good for the gargantuan wait we have for their group's new album which I hope is in process as you read this.

The set is interesting still with 5 bonus tracks lifted from other sets. For my money the only essential inclusion from these (and all are welcome, don't get me wrong) is the UK remix of "Heartbeat" which saw a release in the UK in February 1985. Never been a fan of remixes, UK one especially BUT this version absolutely wipes the floor with the original LP version and adds more via dreamy keys and rhythm guitar and strings. Extended, too, to a massive 7:03 this is an essential purchase for this and this alone.

It isn't that simple though, and nor should it be! "Hot Spot" boasts one of the best Dazz Band tunes you could ever wish to lay hands on, and that is "Slow Rap". Within seconds of listening you can tell that the SUPERB Jeff Lorber is involved, and his unique signature key skills are more than evident. I wish he would make tunes like this today... no disrespect to his latest, excellent, set though. The song is so typical of the classy adult R&B mid-tempo output that you would expect in the mid 1980s and vocalist Skip Martin is right at home on this groove. The saxy "Used To Be My Girl" also needs to take a bow for being a great Dazz Band moment - the atmospheric guitar and delightfully organised echoed harmonies remind me of their earlier incarnation for 20th Century records in the late 1970s.

The down-tempo "When You Need Roses" with its beautiful and haunting ending fares much better than the freaky, electronic uptempo cuts which sound rather dated to these ears, but all of the aforementioned cuts make this a set to grab as soon as you can.

I know that their 1982 album "Keep It Live" has seen a CD release in the past few years, but it would be only suitable that it gets a PROPER release from master tapes and remastered properly with bonus about it...???

-Barry Towler

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